Matthew Battles

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Matthew Battles
Matthew Battles.png

Matthew Battles (b. 1968) is a writer, artist, and associate director of metaLAB at Harvard University.[1] He has written for The Atlantic, NeimanLab, Harper's Magazine and the New York Times.[2][3][4][5] Battles is the author or co-author of six books, most of which are on the topics of writing or libraries.[6] He was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2004.[7] He has been called "a gifted stylist" by the Christian Science Monitor which commended his "beautiful writing about writing."[8]

Battles also sees the institution of the library as more than just the building's contents. He headed a team which created a data visualization of the printing locations of books published in early-modern Europe, shown over time.[9] He also worked with artist Sarah Newman on the video installation Your Story Has Touched My Heart which drew heavily on Harvard's photo archives.[10][11] His "feral copyright project" at metaLAB looked into how copyright is lived and understood by regular people.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Battles was raised in raised in Petersburg, Illinois. He received a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1992, and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Boston University in 1996.[7] He is married and has one son and one daughter.


  • Library: an Unquiet History (Norton, 2003)
  • Widener: Biography of a Library (Widener Library, 2004)
  • The Sovereignties of Invention (Red Lemonade, 2012)
  • The Library Beyond the Book (with Jeffrey Schnapp, 2014)
  • Palimpsest: A History of the Written Word (Norton, 2015)
  • TREE (Bloomsbury, 2017)


  1. ^ "Matthew Battles". Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Harvard University. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  2. ^ Battles, Matthew. "Matthew Battles". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  3. ^ Battles, Matthew (2000-01-01). "Lost in the stacks". Harper's magazine. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  4. ^ Battles, Matthew (2010-06-29). "Reading isn't just a monkish pursuit: Matthew Battles on "The Shallows"". Nieman Lab. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  5. ^ Battles, Matthew (2013-07-01). "How Writers Interact With the World". Opinionator. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  6. ^ Washburn, Michael (2018-08-01). ""Palimpsest" by Matthew Battles". Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  7. ^ a b Journal, Library (2010-05-21). "Matthew Battles - Movers & Shakers 2004". Library Journal. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  8. ^ The Christian Science Monitor (2015-07-29). "'Palimpsest' beautifully charts the history of writing". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  9. ^ Baldegg, Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von (2012-12-05). "The Explosion of 15th Century Printing: A Data Visualization". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  10. ^ "At metaLAB, curiosity meets whimsy". Harvard Gazette. 2016-06-03. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  11. ^ "Your Story Has Touched My Heart". Harvard Art Museums. 2016-05-25. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  12. ^ Ireland, Corydon (2012-08-15). "Wedding digital with traditional – Harvard Gazette". Harvard Gazette. Retrieved 2020-01-02.

External links[edit]